[Ads-l] Throw s.o. under the bus; More from Pascal Tr=?Windows-1252?Q?=E9guer=3B_?=role of Harold Wilson

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sun Mar 26 16:11:30 UTC 2023

Word/expression researcher Pascal Treguer sent me the email below, and with                                                        his permission I now share it with ads-l (I removed his quote marks to keep the
computer software from turning them into extraneous symbols). His message
appears below my signoff.

Gerald (Jerry) Cohen
Missouri University of Science & Technology

From: Pascal   <pascaltreguer1 at gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2023 at 16:18
Subject: “to throw someone under the bus”, and its relation to Harold Wilson
To: Gerald Cohen <gcohen at mst.edu>

Hi, Jerry,

Hopefully for the last time, I have again modified my item to throw someone                                                      under the bus—cf. this link<https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwordhistories.net%2F2023%2F02%2F26%2Fpush-under-bus%2F&data=05%7C01%7Cgcohen%40mst.edu%7C829461e5b7dd454ad60b08db2e0e7f2e%7Ce3fefdbef7e9401ba51a355e01b05a89%7C0%7C0%7C638154412028238813%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000%7C%7C%7C&sdata=xJ0D%2Bj18e%2F9bRQt%2FbWAxsUap3LaBFbFqlpM2gWZLYO4%3D&reserved=0>—because I’ve found, in particular:

– the image of wishing someone under a bus used in relation to one’s own                                                          professional interests, dating back to 1964;

– political uses of to walk/to drop under a bus dating back to 1966.

Several facts seem to indicate that the political use of under a bus originally referred                                          to—or was initiated by—Harold Wilson, Leader of the Labour Party from 1963 to 1976,                                          Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1976:

– the political phrase to walk under a bus was ascribed to Harold Wilson in 1966;

– the political phrase to go under a bus referred to Harold Wilson in 1971;

– the first known user of the political phrase to push someone under a bus was                                                    Harold Wilson during an interview on British television in 1971.

Two remarks:

1/ I have found no relevant early occurrences of under a/the bus                                                                               in Hansard, the official report of all Parliamentary debates.

2/ Perhaps this item (to throw someone under the bus) should be added to the                                                selection of my articles that I consider to be most significant.

All the best,


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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